Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What We Eat...on $75/wk

So, it's true.  I've cut our food budget down to $75 a week.  We live in the Bay Area and have a growing family of 5.  Though my children don't eat a lot at one time, they eat all. day. long.  Marcus is still stunned at how much our little Sammy eats.  Never underestimate the Samster.  She may be small, but her appetite is large, eating every 2 hours, at least.  

But, we don't have teenagers yet, and I understand it will be vastly different as we continue to grow.  I mean, look at my kids in 20 years!  They look hungry (and criminally scary).

Seriously, this freaks me out.  Back to the food.  Because this is all too creepy.

Last week,  this is how we ate:

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: Masman Curry with Brown Rice -- meatless.  Potatoes, celery, carrots, onion.  Masman curry lasts a long time.  You can buy the curry here.  My recipe was given to me by an old Thai lady I met at an asian market.  It's so easy!  I omit the fish sauce and tamarind paste because I'm out, and we have found that it still tastes really good.   

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: chicken salad wraps in homemade tortillas -- 3 chicken breasts fried in coconut oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, other herbs...cut and chopped up.  Lettuce, cucumber, apples, celery, feta cheese.  Drizzle dressing over it.  Put in homemade tortilla (made with coconut oil).  My homemade tortillas aren't beautiful, but they are filling, healthier, and the kids love them!  This was great as left overs the next day as well.

Breakfast: oatmeal

Dinner:  Veggies stir-fry with noodles  (used this for sauce recipe)  YUMMMMMMY!  Even Callie loved it.  It was so good.  Seriously, so good.

from this.......

to this.....

Breakfast: oatmeal (big surprise)

Dinner: Beans and Rice.  I got this idea from my sister-in-law, Annie.  Then I altered it a touch.  This, though, has the potential for so many different variations, especially because the kids loved it too.  I made a big batch of it and froze it.  We'll have it again for dinner tonight.  It's a nice blend of citrus, sweet, and spicy.  We all really liked it.

I've been using dried beans.  They are easy to cook up, a lot less expensive, and I know they don't contain anything extra in there to preserve them in the can.

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Dinner: Eggs
To jazz it up, I added broccoli, a bit o' cheese, peppers, and shredded carrots.  The kids really liked it too.


Dinner at Grammy and Grandpa's.
Had we not done that, I probably would have done a noodle dish with spaghetti sauce or something simple.

Lunches are pretty standard.  There's always enough for Marcus to take left overs to work for lunch.  I'm lucky I have a husband who not only is supportive and WANTS to eat less meat, but he also wants to bring left overs for lunch.  It's motivating when we're saving money, but also because he sincerely likes our meals.  So, that makes me feel good too.

Callie has been requesting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I always have yogurt and applesauce for the kids for lunches and snacks.  They get 1 yogurt a day.  Same with applesauce.  I get a large container of each and divvy it up into these...

It save quite a bit of money.

For snacks we have pretzels, animal crackers, cheez-its, whatever is the best price for the quick go-to snacks.  You need to have those in a house.  We also try to have nuts and raisins hanging around.  The kids eat a lot of fruit and veggies.  If I have a plate of cut up vegetables on the table, they'll eat them as they are playing throughout the day.

For other snacks/treats, though, I'll make brownies (I replaced the butter with coconut oil), many different variations of this granola bar, cookies, popcorn, etc.  I'll bake things up, individually wrap them, and then put them in the freezer.  These items can go into lunches or be used as a quick snack or treat during the day.  Limit: 1 per day.  

This is how we did $75 for groceries last week.  I try to stick to $75, but sometimes I go over if there's a good deal.  I tell myself I have a budget of approximately $350/mth, and try to stay within cents of the $75 mark.

I have found that as I've made this move to $75/week
* I don't overbuy produce and have it go bad.
* I don't buy junk have on hand.
* There's not as much mindless eating, because we don't have a ton of stuff laying around.
* We eat WAY healthier.  I'm making our "junk" food by scratch.
* Callie and I are spending more time together baking and cooking, which we've both really enjoyed
* Our tastes have changed for the better.  Salty things are now soooo salty.  Sweet things are often too sweet.  Our bodies aren't craving the same things it did before.
* I feel very fulfilled as a mother and wife cooking these really healthy meals for my family, while saving money.

This may not be possible in every area of the U.S.A.  And as our kids grow and our family changes, this will change too.  But, that's ok.  For now, this is my goal.  We're doing it, and it feel great.


D said...

I thought this post was awesome! Thanks for sharing.


Lisa Michelle said...

Hi Jenny!! Thought I'd share one of our faves right now -- it's cheap, filling, healthy and super good. I saute some onions and garlic in olive or coconut oil, add some black beans (cooked), chicken broth and diced sweet potatoes. Let it simmer till the sweet potatoes are tender. Serve over brown rice with some shredded cheese on top. Really yum. Love seeing your recipes -- thanks!! :)

D-n-E said...

Loved this post, Jenny. You are great at your job of wife, mother, homemaker. You inspire me. I try really hard to stick to our food budget and we use many of the same tricks you do. Thanks for sharing your recipes. I love trying new things.


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